Lyrics and repeats

Simple repeats

Repeats in music are fully described elsewhere; see Repeats. This section explains how to add lyrics to repeated sections of music.

Lyrics to a section of music that is repeated should be surrounded by exactly the same repeat construct as the music, if the words are unchanged.

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
          a'4 a a a
          \repeat volta 2 { b4 b b b }
        }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        Not re -- peat -- ed.
        \repeat volta 2 { Re -- peat -- ed twice. }
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

The words will then be correctly expanded if the repeats are unfolded.

\score {
  \unfoldRepeats {
    <<
      \new Staff {
        \new Voice = "melody" {
          \relative {
            a'4 a a a
            \repeat volta 2 { b4 b b b }
          }
        }
      }
      \new Lyrics {
        \lyricsto "melody" {
          Not re -- peat -- ed.
          \repeat volta 2 { Re -- peat -- ed twice. }
        }
      }
    >>
  }
}

[image of music]

If the repeated section is to be unfolded and has different words, simply enter all the words:

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
          a'4 a a a
          \repeat unfold 2 { b4 b b b }
        }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        Not re -- peat -- ed.
        The first time words.
        Sec -- ond time words.
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

When the words to a repeated volta section are different, the words to each repeat must be entered in separate Lyrics contexts, correctly nested in parallel sections:

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
          a'4 a a a
          \repeat volta 2 { b4 b b b }
        }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics \lyricsto "melody" {
      Not re -- peat -- ed.
      <<
	{ The first time words. }
	\new Lyrics {
	  \set associatedVoice = "melody"
	  Sec -- ond time words.
	}
      >>
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

More verses may be added in a similar way:

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \new Voice = "singleVoice" {
        \relative {
	  a'4 a a a
	  \repeat volta 3 { b4 b b b }
          c4 c c c
	}
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics \lyricsto "singleVoice" {
      Not re -- peat -- ed.
      <<
        { The first time words.	}
	\new Lyrics {
	  \set associatedVoice = "singleVoice"
	  Sec -- ond time words.
	}
	\new Lyrics {
	  \set associatedVoice = "singleVoice"
	  The third time words.
	}
      >>
      The end sec -- tion.
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

However, if this construct is embedded within a multi-staff context such as a ChoirStaff the lyrics of the second and third verses will appear beneath the bottom staff.

To position them correctly use alignBelowContext:

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
	  a'4 a a a
	  \repeat volta 3 { b4 b b b }
          c4 c c c
	}
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics = "firstVerse" \lyricsto "melody" {
      Not re -- peat -- ed.
      <<
        { The first time words.	}
	\new Lyrics = "secondVerse"
        \with { alignBelowContext = "firstVerse" } {
	  \set associatedVoice = "melody"
	  Sec -- ond time words.
	}
	\new Lyrics = "thirdVerse"
        \with { alignBelowContext = "secondVerse" } {
	  \set associatedVoice = "melody"
	  The third time words.
	}
      >>
      The end sec -- tion.
    }
    \new Voice = "harmony" {
      \relative {
        f'4 f f f \repeat volta 2 { g8 g g4 g2 } a4 a8. a16 a2
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

Repeats with alternative endings

If the words of the repeated section are the same, and none of the \alternative blocks start with a rest, exactly the same structure can be used for both the lyrics and music. This has the advantage that \unfoldRepeats will expand both music and lyrics correctly.

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \time 2/4
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
          a'4 a a a
          \repeat volta 2 { b4 b }
          \alternative {
            \volta 1 { b b }
            \volta 2 { b c }
          }
        }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        Not re -- peat -- ed.
        \repeat volta 2 { Re -- peat -- }
        \alternative {
          \volta 1 { ed twice. }
          \volta 2 { ed twice. }
        }
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

But when the repeated section has different words, or when one of the \alternative blocks starts with a rest, a repeat construct cannot be used around the words and \skip commands have to be inserted manually to skip over the notes in the alternative sections which do not apply.

Note: do not use an underscore, _, to skip notes – an underscore indicates a melisma, causing the preceding syllable to be left-aligned.

Note: The \skip command must be followed by a number, but this number is ignored in lyrics which derive their durations from the notes in an associated melody through \addlyrics or \lyricsto. Each \skip skips a single note of any value, irrespective of the value of the following number.

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \time 2/4
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
          \repeat volta 2 { b'4 b }
          \alternative {
            \volta 1 { b b }
            \volta 2 { b c }
          }
          c4 c
        }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        The first time words.
        \repeat unfold 2 { \skip 1 }
        End here.
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        Sec -- ond
        \repeat unfold 2 { \skip 1 }
        time words.
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

When a note is tied over into two or more alternative endings a tie is used to carry the note into the first alternative ending and a \repeatTie is used in the second and subsequent endings. This structure causes difficult alignment problems when lyrics are involved and increasing the length of the alternative sections so the tied notes are contained wholly within them may give a more acceptable result.

The tie creates a melisma into the first alternative, but not into the second and subsequent alternatives, so to align the lyrics correctly it is necessary to disable the automatic creation of melismata over the volta section and insert manual skips.

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \time 2/4
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
          \set melismaBusyProperties = #'()
          \repeat volta 2 { b'4 b ~}
          \alternative {
            \volta 1 { b b }
            \volta 2 { b \repeatTie c }
          }
          \unset melismaBusyProperties
          c4 c
        }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        \repeat volta 2 { Here's a __ }
        \alternative {
          \volta 1 { \skip 1 verse }
          \volta 2 { \skip 1 sec }
        }
        ond one.
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

Note that if \unfoldRepeats is used around a section containing \repeatTie, the \repeatTie should be removed to avoid both types of tie being printed.

When the repeated section has different words a \repeat cannot be used around the lyrics and \skip commands need to be inserted manually, as before.

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \time 2/4
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
          \repeat volta 2 { b'4 b ~}
          \alternative {
            \volta 1 { b b }
            \volta 2 { b \repeatTie c }
          }
          c4 c
        }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        Here's a __ verse.
        \repeat unfold 2 { \skip 1 }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        Here's one
        \repeat unfold 2 { \skip 1 }
        more to sing.
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

If you wish to show extenders and hyphens into and out of alternative sections these must be inserted manually.

\score {
  <<
    \new Staff {
      \time 2/4
      \new Voice = "melody" {
        \relative {
          \repeat volta 2 { b'4 b ~}
          \alternative {
            \volta 1 { b b }
            \volta 2 { b \repeatTie c }
          }
          c4 c
        }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        Here's a __ verse.
        \repeat unfold 2 { \skip 1 }
      }
    }
    \new Lyrics {
      \lyricsto "melody" {
        Here's "a_"
        \skip 1
        "_" sec -- ond one.
      }
    }
  >>
}

[image of music]

See also

Notation Reference: Keeping contexts alive, Repeats.


LilyPond Notation Reference v2.25.13 (development-branch).